Wednesday, January 07, 2009

To Boycott, Or Not To Boycott

You know, all this talk about boycotting all US products and goods as a form of protest in regards of what’s happening in Gaza? Yeah. Well, thing is, I’d like to think of myself as a good person. I think most of us do. But, is it just me or is it really that hard since they make some good shit over there? I mean, I get a copy of GQ magazine every month and, if they put Elijah Wood on the cover then maybe, yes, I’d give this time a pass in support of the protest. But, no. Things are just not that simple. This month of January they put Jen Aniston on the cover wearing just a tie. Let me say that again just to be clear. JUST. A. TIE! And it’s not even tied properly. She just fiddles with it. How can I discard that? How can any man discard that? The fact that she’s 40 and Brad’s ex is merely inconsequential.
In case you were wondering, the tie is from Brooks Brothers

And this doesn’t end there. I haven’t seen Yes Man and The Spirit yet. This isn’t Rachel Getting Married or PS I Love You. These are two very bloke-y films. I can not consider myself a movie fan if I don’t at least see one of them. A Jim Carrey comedy and a 300-style epic (plus Mendes and Johansson)? How can you argue with that? Now, before you start wiggling your finger at me and accuse me of not be more supportive of locally made films, okay, I’ll admit it was my bad for missing Antoo Fighters since I myself would have really liked to see how Alin fared in her debut role. But I did catch Lost Dan Faun and thoroughly enjoyed it. As if I would have missed any Afdlin Shauki flicks anyway. As for Histeria, well, not yet but that’s because, let’s face it, Malaysia just could not make a good horror film. And, yes, that includes Jangan Pandang Belakang. The reason Histeria is doing so well at the box office is because of the lesbian kiss scene. No matter how much you deny it, sex sells. Especially a girl-on-girl action. Which makes me wonder why haven’t Astro started showing The L Word? C’mon, we had Will and Grace!

And this is just me. If you really like to broaden the picture, then picture this. For you ladies, no more Oprah or Gossip Girl. For you men, no more Marlboros. Music lovers, no more Beyonce or Justin Timberlake. Nor Rihanna nor The Jonas Brothers. The new season of American Idol? Ha!

And the biggest heartbreak of all? I’m afraid it’s you, Star Wars fans. You have to stop fantasizing about Queen Amidala.

We can keep going on and on but I think you get the picture. But, any how, look at the bright side. At least we’re not boycotting products from China.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Headlights Not Foglights, MyVi Drivers

I don’t know about you but I’m having serious issues with MyVi drivers and their inappropriate use of fog lights.

What are fog lights, you may ask? Well, in the case of the MyVis, there are those beady-eyed lamps mounted low on the front bumper.

Fog lights, as the name suggests, are meant to be used when visibility is poor due to rain, fog or snow. And they are meant to be used in tandem with the normal headlights to act as an assisting tool. Malaysian MyVi drivers, however, chose to use the fog lights as their main illuminating device in, more often than not, clear weather. Which culminates in other motorists, such as me, coming from the opposite direction, receiving unnecessary glare. And render you invisible every time you come up behind me. I don’t about you but I very much prefer to avoid rear-ended collisions.

Do you know why a car’s head lights seem temporarily brighter when you see it go pass a speed bump? It’s because all head lights on all matter of road vehicles are slightly aimed downwards towards the road surface to firstly, lets you see the road because that’s really important, and secondly, so that other drivers coming at you would not have to cover their eyes and scream in agony because of the glare coming from your car. Head lights are meant for you to see the road and others see you. It works both ways.

And fog lights are there to help when the weather is shit. As such, tiny as they are, are pointed straight ahead and offers a stronger light density to penetrate the fog and sleet. Which means, under normal conditions (which is most time in Malaysia), it gives out more glare.

Bearing this in mind, MyVi drivers now are under the impression that since their fog lights gives them better illumination of the road markings, their opted to use solely that instead of using their normal head lights. Let alone using both under clear weather conditions but to think that fog lights are substitutes for head lights? That’s not just wrong. That’s stupid. Head lights are not called head lights just because they are bigger. They need to be at a pre-determined height on a car. It’s the reason why they are not mounted low on the front bumper like the fog lights or on the roof. So that when a car comes up behind me, I would know.

Once I was driving on Federal. I was on the right lane and doing 80. Out of the blue, a black MyVi appears behind me. I reckon it was there probably I few seconds before I realized its presence because of, well, you guessed it, the misappropriation of fog light use and the lack of head light use. Since it was tailgating me I would normally get out of the way but since it was one of those ignorant dimwits, I decided to share my annoyance by just taking my foot of the pedal and let my car drift ever so slower. By the time it overtook me from the left I was pretty sure the lesson was never learnt but I was pleased with myself anyway.

So, people, driving in Malaysia, you don’t need fog lights because fogs here are only found on the way or down to or from Genting at dawn. Or the stretch between Gua Musang and Kuala Krai at 3 in the morning. In KL, only when it rains that requires the closure of the SMART Tunnel do you find the slight necessity to use fog lights. Other than that, please, use normal head lights. Why is it so difficult? Forfeiting head lights does not make you look cool. It makes you look like an ass. A dumb ass, as a matter of fact. And why does MyVi drivers tend to do this? I do not know. But they do. I’m confident if I go out for a drive right now, I could easily spot one in matter of minutes.

I never do this but it’s such a shame we do not have any road regulations on this. In Germany, it’s illegal to switch on your fog lights during clear weather. It’s prohibited in the UK as well. Which is why our car makers have been making extra bucks by offering these unnecessary and annoying options to their customers. They don’t care. It’s all about profits for them. Like the small wipers for head lights on a few Merc models not long ago. C’mon, really?

Educate yourself people. Or so help me god if one ever drives up my alley again without switching the head lights on.

Unless you’re driving a Hilux then we’re totally cool.

Ushering In The New Year

Luckily, I did go out for a new year’s party. Well, not really a party. More of an outing, actually. But I could not believe the volume of people (yes, I use the word ‘volume’ to illustrate just the point) came to The Curve for a bit of music and fireworks show. It was jam-packed beyond the brim. The area was so dense I had to park just a little outside of Mutiara Damansara. Bulu actually had to park in the middle of Mutiara Damansara. Wait, that’s putting it lightly. He parked more to the far end, to tell the truth (enjoying a night walk with some fellow Indonesians). Point is, The Curve that night, was close to 300% capacity if not more. And closing the main street between Curve and Ikea really didn’t help the traffic flow. Then again, where else were you going to erect the stage?

I’ll tell who had fun though that night. The people selling those foam spray cans at RM2 a pop. And they sell it in a package of 5s. That’s 10 bucks every transaction. And people were gobbling it up more than they would on hot cakes. And those things run out pretty fast. The pavement was littered with empty cans. Sands on beaches had fewer amount. Yes, all in the name of celebration but all I can see all those foolishly hysterical people were doing was spraying their hard earned money onto unappreciative strangers. They might as well set their wallets on fire (which I once saw can be quite an impressive trick).This what happens when the credit crunch hasn’t reached this part of the world yet.

As for me, well, I chilled out with friends and we had a reasonably good time. But the time we ventured from The Street to Cineleisure was really like cutting through a battlefield for the said reasons. We were muscled about throughout the way but no worries. However, I do feel sorry for the kids who ended up crying because of the loud noise and, again, the amount of people that made it an almost hostile environment. Not to mention the foam spray cans. Celebrating the new year should be a family friendly activity but in KL nowadays it doesn’t. Honest to god, there are simply too much people in KL. And that’s a point I’ll make a few more times in the future.

Which now begs the question. In 12 months time, would I do it again ushering in 2010? The answer would be, well, yes. It sure as hell beat being in front of the TV. Sure it can be noisy, inconvenient and generally unpleasant but it sure isn’t boring. Unless, of course, I would not be celebrating in KL by that time (and not get left behind) then it will definitely not be boring at all.